by Carl Kruse
It has been a busy season for my artist friend Yury Kharchenko with the completion of several new works, the latest being a series that is generating controversy though the artworks have yet to be publicly exhibited. In these latest works, Kharchenko depicts comic and pop culture icons at the entrance to Auschwitz, with the unmistakable towers of death juxtaposed in the background, creating conflict and tension by bringing two worlds together that never should have met. The works include Scrooge McDuck Protects his Money in Front of Auschwitz and a series titled Waiting For A Super Hero, all raising the question why didn’t a Superman or a Batman or any Disney hero save the Jews? The super heroes always saved everyone but why not now? One of Kharchenko’s main preoccupations is whether what happened before — the horror of the Holocaust — could ever happen again.
Meanwhile, a work by Kharchenko, “House of Hope, Number 2″ (oil on canvas 2019), formerly of the Paul J. Schupf collection, has been donated to the Colby College Museum of Art as part of the last will of Mr. Schupf who passed away December 4, 2019. Besides Kharchenko’s work, Schupf was one of the largest collectors of Francis Bacon, Alex Katz and Richard Serra, works that will now be featured at the Colby College Museum of Art. For more information on the museum visit: https://www.colby.edu/museum/
Yury was also featured in a New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/world/europe/germany-identity.html ) on the topic of Jewish/German identity in Germany – a prominent thread that runs through his art — where he defiantly says he is a German Jew in spite of, or maybe because of, the armed guards in front of his son’s school in Berlin.
In the latest news, Yury will participate in the upcoming “Heart: 100 Artists. 1 Mission” project at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (one of the largest art museums in Germany) that runs from October 20 through November 8, 2020. The exhibition then re-launches at the Berlinische Galerie from November 18 through 26, 2020.
The “Heart, 100 Artists. 1 Mission” seeks to raise money for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and to help projects that aid refugees in Germany. In a government-approved lottery, the project will sell tickets for Forty Euros a piece with the money from the first 25,000 tickets handed over to the UNHCR. Each ticket gives the participant the opportunity to get an artwork from the exhibition, all of which have been donated by the 100 participating artists, including Yury. The list of artists is available at https://www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/en/heart-100-artist-1-mission
The exhibition is organized by the U.N. Refugee Aid – Germany in an effort to strongly express solidarity and support to the many millions of people fleeing their homes due to conflict and poverty. Since its beginning in Bonn, Germany in 1980, this organization has worked to ameliorate the living situation for refugees and to help them fully integrate in new host countries.
For those in Berlin, I will be at the opening of the Berlinische Galerie on November 18th if you would like to stop by.
Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT org